Senior Journalism Campaigns Class Creates Promotional Materials for NSF GRAPES Center
Journalism students with Dr. Ignatius Fosu and NCREPT Personnel Alan Mantooth, T.A. Walton and Marta Gwyn Collier. Student participants in the Spring 2010 Semester Campaigns class included: Group 1: Kim Collom, Willy Brehm, Rebecca Julian, Kendall White, Leah Wright; Group 2: Catherine Norman, Kallie Lederman, Bomi Kim, Andrea Ritchie, Zeke Ridout; Group 3: Whitney Spencer, Suzanne Hill, Jay Robbins, Erin Baskin, and Logan Molock.
Building collaborative partnerships within the university, the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission employed the marketing services of 15 University of Arkansas seniors through their Journalism Campaigns course.
The class spent the entire spring 2010 semester working on the project equipped with a small budget for each of three groups. The project design called for the development of three separate integrated marketing communications campaigns for the GRid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems (GRAPES) Center, a National Science Foundation-supported research partnership between the University of Arkansas and the University of South Carolina.
Groups were provided with examples of GRAPES’ previous “engineer-styled” promotional materials and competitive leads information at the start of the project. T.A. Walton, managing director of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission, met with the groups several times throughout the semester to give client feedback and constructive criticism regarding each proposal.
Walton initiated the project as an opportunity to create and strengthen collaborative partnerships within the campus community. “I approached Dr. Fosu with the idea of doing a project offering everyone a win-win-win scenario,” said Walton. “First, this project was a win for the GRAPES center in that we received three outstanding promotional packages full of fresh concepts and ideas for our relatively small initial investment. The win for the students was establishing a new and creative, real world challenge for their senior project class. The win for the electrical engineering department was in creating and supporting a collaborative effort between colleges in the interest of putting our students first by promoting their talents and skills.”
This Senior Campaigns project has already sparked the interest of another electrical engineering group at the Engineering Research Center, the High Density Electronics Center, that is looking into a reapplication of this project in the near future.
The prospect of creating new learning opportunities for students made this collaboration appealing to Ignatius K. Fosu, assistant professor of journalism in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
“When Mr. Walton contacted me about this opportunity, I immediately saw the potential for providing my students with a hands-on senior project to help them understand what it takes to create a winning marketing proposal,” said Fosu. “This project was different in that it was built as a business-to-business exchange rather than a typical product marketing campaign.”
The hard work of each group was evident during the final group presentations held in the J.B. Hunt Center for Excellence at the end of the semester. “I was very impressed with each team presentation. They all had strong points. I feel we gained some objective insight into our approach to branding and marketing our center,” said, Alan Mantooth, executive director of NCREPT and GRAPES, who saw the class’s work product for the first time during the final campaign presentations on April 29.
“In the real world, our students need to be flexible and open to any client who comes to them,” said Fosu. “This project enabled students to learn and adjust. These skills will serve our graduates well in their professional pursuits.”
Walton expressed his customer satisfaction to the students at the conclusion of the presentation. “All of the projects were outstanding. Efforts like this one are about making new, creative connections that showcase the phenomenal talent we have right here at the University of Arkansas.”
Visit the Web sites of GRAPES or the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission for more information.
Marta Gwyn Collier, GRAPES Administrative Specialist
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